Hi, this is my first time posting here but I've lurked around here for a while when I was doing my initial research about cockatiels before finally getting one. I've had my male cockatiel for a little over a week. I decided to go down the re-home route as I've heard pet stores are not ideal and after a few months I found the perfect one.
He's 9 months old and was hand-tamed by the previous owner. He's very sweet most of the time but is a very picky eater. He refuses to eat anything I put him minus his bird food (with the exception of lettuce and celery on the rare occasion he'll take a few bites of them). The previous owners told us the brand of food they feed him, it's called extreme gourmet cockatiel food...quite frankly I've never heard of this brand while doing research but I bought it anyways since it's what he's used to eating. Although now I'm starting to feel worried it's not very good for him (especially with him not eating anything else) but considering how picky he is I'm not sure how to switch him over to a better brand (zupreem pellets hopefully or is there something better, I'm open to suggestions??). However, my other worry is him not eating any vegetables, fruits, etc I offer. I've tried multiple methods from hanging them in his cage to discreetly mixing them in his regular food cup, he's very smart and can somehow sense any change in his regular food. I've even tried spraying millet on the chopped veges/quinoa etc I offer but he won't come near them, he outsmarts me every time it's crazy lol. Today I tried to offer him cooked couscous but he took one good look and flew off his perch and onto the cage bars to avoid it ...he seems to dislike everything that isn't his regular bird food. Any advice on how to get him to eat the fresh food I offer because I'm starting to get worried, I really want him to have a healthy diet and not become sick/malnourished.
Thank you for any advice in advance.
Here's a few pictures of the cutie pie, I love him so much it's insane how quickly I got attached to him.
Oh boy, is this a similarly common problem with my little boy Enzo.
He's quite the picky eater when it comes to his fruits and vegetables, although he'll gladly eat the unhealthy foods such as Cheese-Its or Goldfish.
The way that I've tried with him is that I will take a bite of the food myself to show him that it's food and that it's okay to eat (since they're flock animals, this usually works for them, especially if you act like it's really good). I get him to try a bunch of different foods this way. One other thing that I've found that helps is that I break the food into a piece that is easily 'tiel sized, for example, he won't eat directly off a banana that is offered to him, but if I break off a smaller piece, he'll gladly eat it.
Also, keep in mind that like people, Cockatiels have likes and dislikes, and it's possible that he may just not like what is being offered to him. Typically, if a 'tiel tries a food once and doesn't like it or won't eat it any more, then that's a sign that the bird doesn't like it and won't eat it again.
And about the food he's eating currently, is it seed?
If so, it's important that you try and get him to switch to pellets as soon as you can because seed is way less healthy than seed is. There are multiple methods to get birds to switch over, and if you'd like, I can describe them to you.
Btw, my 'tiel does eat Zupreem.
I've tried the eating in front of him method as well as chopping them finely but both haven't worked so far. He really seems to avoid or run away from anything he's not familiar with, today I tried to feed him some popcorn and he jumped off my leg to avoid it...quite the sass . This is what his bird food is: http://www.fmbrown.com/extreme-gourm...el-foodtm.html I believe it's mostly seeds, I definitely want to switch him over to pellets but seeing how picky he is I'm worried he'll give me a hard time. I'd love suggestions on how to go on about this.
First of all, your bird is beautiful! Yes, it is easy to get attached to them quickly! I am always amazed at how much personality that tiny feathered body holds!
One "trick" you can use to get your 'tiel to try new foods is to cut off the little "buds" on broccoli and mix them with some of his food. The little balls of broccoli look kind of like seeds and he may be tempted to nibble at them. Another thing I've tried with Bennie (also a picky eater) is to shred carrot into fine strips and put it in a treat holder with little strands hanging out. You can also clip it into a clip-style clothespin. The dangling carrot shreds may entice him to trying a nibble or two.
Besides veggies, I also give Bennie "Nutriberries" which are more nutritious than just plain seed and Bennie does like them.
Thank you, he really is a beauty . It's crazy how much personality they do have, his is starting to come out more and more each day. I'm definitely going to try the broccoli and carrot trick. I tried to hang small strips of carrots before but that didn't work, hopefully the treat holder will.
He made some progress these last two days though, ate some hanging spinach and bok choy...he seems to like green leafy type of vegetables hanging. I tried to do that with asparagus but had no luck today. I guess better than nothing, maybe the treat holder trick will work so I'll be going out soon to get that for him. Also, is it normal for their droppings to become a little watery after eating these leafy greens?
Hey hey! **waves a wing hi** As you've already received good advice, I'll skip my own and jump onto your question about watery poop. It is normal for tiels poop to become slightly more runny when they've had greens. Their poop also changes colour. For the life of me, I can't remember if it's more brown or green when they're on a seed based diet.
I also second Nutriberries. My guys LOVE them.
Mindwipe - f, g, 15yrs Redshift - m, g, 14 yrs Firestorm -f - pearl WF - 2.5 yr Sideswipe-M -grey-5 years Strongarm-F-Pearl - 2yrs August, M, WCPi, 13yrs Slugfest, M, Budgie, 1 yr Swoop, F, Budgie, 1yr
and the medical alert service dog, Aaerro (Whippet/Iggy cross), F, 9 yrs
Hey to you too! And oh that's good, I was slightly worried since his poop looked a little different than his normal one after eating his leafy greens...I'm always over worrying since I've never had a cockatiel before so everything is new to me.
I recently went to the pet store nearby and I didn't see any nutriberries but hopefully if I go a little further I'll find them to test out on my tiel. Thank you for the help!